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[17:20] And so to the end of May! The year is getting on at what feels like an increasingly speedy pace. Which is a little distressing, but also cool as it speeds me towards the time (in the tail end of next year) when I can start looking at buying a house (and realising that I simply can't afford one hereabouts). Anyway, it's Tuesday, so let me tell you about Friday through to Monday.

I did quite a nice run on Saturday morning. Especially after having myself my usual pizza for Friday night dinner. Surprisingly for me I managed a whole large without any real problems. This meant I didn't have anything for breakfast or post-run lunch, but that was OK. The run was good, being about 20 miles in 2h35m or so. Perfectly acceptable. After that I was still functional and able to get myself together and on a train to meet Rachel's train from London. We headed north to Retford and spent the evening watching Rachel's father in an am. dram. production of The Vicar of Dibley which... wasn't terrible by any means. I was tired though, so have to admit to drifting off a little towards the end. Sunday we drove over to the Peak District and Ladybower Reservoir to walk around its top bit, Derwent and Howden Reservoirs, and generally do some recon. on what the route for the ultra we're going to do in September is going to be like. Hiking it with Rachel's parents was pleasant, and I'd like to think they don't totally hate and despise me. After we got back we went out for a rather lovely curry before heading to bed. Bank Holiday Monday morning was quite relaxed. Breakfast, and then a drive to the station to head home again on the trains. We got back to my place just after lunch time, did the Tesco thing, came home and relaxed for the remainder of the day. Rachel, of course, baked something delicious, and took over the kitchen for washing up and dinner-making duties, too. I would try to do more, but she tends to be quite strong-willed when it comes to kitchen things. We did take a break in the middle of the afternoon though, so it wasn't all hard work.

This morning she had a Skype call at 07:00, so was able to hang around a bit later before getting a hopefully less rush hour-crammed train to London. It has poured with rain for most of the day, so we both got soaked heading to our respective workplaces. It continued to rain over lunch, when I did a very soggy, but quite controlled 10km run. Not particularly fast, but then that's not what I'm going for these days. Plenty of work going on today, but none of it anything 'big'. Just lots of twiddles and fixes and things. Hopefully someone's going to authorise the payment of at least one of my training courses tomorrow, otherwise it's not going to happen. Which would be annoying.

[16:45] Today's work day started with a blazing argument, complete with swearing, right next to my desk. My old team leader (being his usual blunt and uncompromising self) shouted at by a DBA who just wasn't having any of what he was saying. I think they both had good points (and to be honest I side more with my old team leader), but both of them could have comported themselves better. It being less than 1m from me certainly made me feel uncomfortable. As usual, my default response was to try and be concilliatory and to try and find the middle ground. Whether this was just to stop people making me feel uncomfortable, or to actually find a solution, I don't know. In any event, I think something got worked out. I ended up building a whole new application server in about an hour, and then did some firewall and load balancer work, and hopefully that's it for this week from me. It all boils down to trying to virtualise a three-tier application that we have here, and there being complaints that virtualised servers don't have the same amount of grunt as dedicated physical hardware does. I'm certainly coming around to the chance to reduce our physical footprint in terms of amount of hardware we have, and I think we can. The tests just have to be more "like for like" than they have been to date.

Anyway, today is the third day in a row I've had something like indigestion after lunch. I'm beginning to think it might be the bag of carrots I got this week. They taste just a little different. I'm going to head home and treat myself gently tonight in the hope that I'll feel better in the morning for my long run. I have to get up moderately early so I can get a good distance done, then be showered, shaved, lunched, and ready to get to the train station so I can get on a train, then get on another one that'll already have Rachel on it. We're heading to her parents', and then on Sunday going to Ladybower Resevoir to do a 15 mile hike around it and Derwent Resevoir as a first look at the route we'll be running three and a third times in September. Then back to her parents, before coming home on the Monday to have the rest of the bank holiday weekend at my place. I hope you have a good weekend doing whatever it is you do that counts as a good time, and I'll see you on Tuesday.

[17:00] Getting up this morning both was and wasn't a trial. I can't really describe it, in retrospect. I was tired and yawning, but I think I was enough of an autopilot that it wasn't totally intolerable. There were plenty of people at the boat house just after I arrived, but they were all going out in boats, obviously. The run was OK. Basically the same as yesterday in terms of distance and time, it's just how I divided up the pace over the kilometers that was different (although not that much). Then it was a slow cycle to work, a day of work, where the highlight was probably swapping a power supply over in one of the data centers, and then getting ready to go home via Tesco to get bits of dinner to share with Rachel this evening. I'm very much looking forward to sleeping in until at least 07:30 tomorrow morning, followed by an actual proper rest day. But even more so I'm looking forward to Rachel arriving. It feels like ages since I saw her last.

[17:15] Aside from the stupid time I got up, this morning's run was pretty good, all things considered. Nothing hurt or ached particularly much, it took about as long as I was expecting, and there was plenty of hot water for a shower afterwards. Surprisingly busy on my route though, for the time of day and how out of the way it is at the extreme end of it. Still, better than running in total and complete isolation, I guess.

Got to work, inhaled a big pot of yoghurt and settled in to a day of stuff. That started with logging a support call for a failed PSU in one of our servers which I'm going to have to replace tomorrow. Not sure which server room I'll be visiting yet, but I guess that's the kind of exciting surprise you get around here.

I've also been doing some more serious research into ultra running vests. I'm currently investigating the offerings Salomon have, but am having real difficulty tracking down anywhere on the high street I can go and actually try one on. Hopefully Rachel will have better luck in London. I might just order one next week and return it if it just doesn't fit right. The problem is working out which one to get.

For now though I'm off home for a quiet evening and an early night for tomorrow morning's second early morning run of the week.

[17:20] Happily, I seem to be going through a period of happy achilles tendons. So I went for a nice 13K run this morning before work and felt quite good about it. I have no idea what each day is going to bring in terms of how they're going to feel these days, so I take every run I can do comfortably as a blessing. The weather was quite nice, too, so that helped.

Work isn't really going anywhere at the moment, so I've had plenty of time to catch up on technical reading, which has been helpful in its own way. I also went for a physio session (with ultrasound to the achilles tendons, not that I need it at the moment), and got some massage to help with last night's weights session and this morning's run. Now I'm off home for the day, and preparation for tomorrow morning's early rise and long run pre-work. I might even see if I can find some other birthday presents for Rachel.

[17:00] As weekends go, that certainly was one. Sadly it was over far too quickly, even with Rachel arriving on Friday evening. Pizza and television-watching was had, and there was much relaxing. Saturday morning we managed to get out and running by 10:00 and got a respectable 30K in in about 2:35. Nothing spectacular, but more than enough. An average heart rate below 160 was quite pleasing, too. We ended up running out of town to the only reasonable hilly area nearby, around that a bit, and then home again. That left us time to go into town to look at ultra vests in two different places (disappointing results in both) and then do the Tesco thing before stopping in for the rest of the day. Sunday morning started with a lazy lie-in, until we realised the day was getting away from us. This meant we got up and ran a nice ten miles or so around midday. Food followed. After a bit of chilling out Rachel decided we needed to go for a cycle, so I pulled out my mountain bike, gave it a bit of a dust and we did some off-ish road cycling for about forty minutes or so before coming home to make a roast dinner which was really quite delicious. Of course, Rachel did the lion's share of the work, but I kept offering to help.

She left for London this morning and I dragged myself out of bed and into work in time to clear up things from the weekend's problems and issues. That's about it, really. More exciting things tomorrow, I hope. In the meantime, it's time to hit the weights for the week down at the boat house.

Oh, did I mention? The last of my exes got married this weekend. That's all of them now, I think.

[17:15] I'd have to say yesterday's "two runs in a day" was a 90% success. The remaining 10% is because by the time I'd gone home and had dinner I was pretty much falling asleep on the sofa at about 21:00. I gave up trying to keep my eyes open after about fifteen minutes and went to bed at around 21:30 following my nightly physio-mandated exercises (through which I yawned pretty much constantly). I then slept like the dead, other than one brief waking in the small hours.

I didn't feel too bad when I got up this morning, but still took my time getting ready and into work. Today's been a pretty relaxed day, with me mostly working on my email backlog, logging issues on a few servers, MySQL and PHP problems, and ordering birthday presents for Rachel.

Rachel will hopefully be arriving in a few hours, then we have the evening together, an 18-20 mile run tomorrow morning (achilles and ankle joints willing), shopping for ultra vests and perhaps trail shoes, then on Sunday, a somewhat shorter run, any shopping we didn't do the day before, and some luxuriating on the sofa watching some more Person of Interest. There'll also be a Tesco trip in there somewhere, of course.

[17:35] Got to the boat house to do my run this morning and realised I'd left my compression/undershorts elsewhere. Rather than risk chafing, I cut my run a little shorter than I would have liked, but still got out and did a good 14K or so. As it is I chafed elsewhere instead, but my achilles tendons and ankle joints seem to be doing fairly well right now, which I'd much rather be the case. Chafing can be dealt with fairly easily. I know from experience that tendon and joint issues aren't so quickly banished. Even though I'm doing well at the moment in those areas I've still booked a physio appointment for next week, just to make sure everything's going OK. Something that isn't going OK is that the Croydon Ultra we were going to do has been cancelled. That means we're going to need to find a replacement race to do on or around that weekend (which follows Rachel coming back from Kenya, where she'll have been for her birthday).

Nothing much going on at work at the moment other than the usual daily grind. If I had more interesting things to write about, I definitely would. But there isn't. I may go home now and do another (shorter) run.

[17:00] I can't tell if this morning's early morning run was good or not. Getting up was fine, as was the getting to the boat house. The achilles tendons didn't feel too bad (not as good as the previous few days, but not anywhere near as bad as they have been), and the ankle joints weren't too uncomfortable. It just didn't feel like I could go all that fast. A lack of energy and general strength is how it felt. In any event, I got the 20K done, had a nice long shower and headed to work.

Disappointingly, much of the stuff useful stuff I had planned to do today didn't actually need doing in the end. I'd automated myself out of a job for the most part, and the rest of it went so smoothly and first timedly that I wasn't left with a terribly large amount to fill my day. It didn't really matter as I had plenty of reading to do in preparation for the new Red Hat software I'm going to have to get to grips with soon(ish).

In other news, I did some gardening last night when I got home. By which I mean I mowed the lawn and did some hedge trimming. Everything looks like my head now, by which I mean fairly closely cropped. Also, I did all the washing up. This means I get to go home now and do absolutely nothing for the evening, which is great. I'm then getting up early again tomorrow for another long run. Hopefully feeling a little more spritely than this morning.

[17:00] It's weird, but my achilles are still feeling really good. Like, pretty much normal. And I have no idea why. It's not like I did anything to make it so. In fact, I ran longish two days in a row when they were feeling almost as bad as they ever have... Anyway, I decided to give them a bit of a rest last night so went a did a weights session instead of running. Only an hour, not particularly heavy weights or anything. Then I woke up this morning, and as I was going to get my hair cut over lunch, went for a 10K run before breakfast. Amazingly, the achilles were almost completely unnoticable. My right ankle joint was a little worrying during morning exercises/physio, and noticable on the run, but nothing really stuck out as painful or problematic. I do feel like I don't have the speed/stamina to go faster than I am right now, though. I don't know if it's an artefact of doing all my runs post-Boston slower, that I'm still not over Boston, or something else/a combination of those things (and more). In any event, I'd rather be able to run more slowly and without discomfort than faster, but potentially not for as long, or in discomfort. We'll see what tomorrow morning's longer run brings.

Workwise I've got another SLES SP4 box autoyast'd into existence (not really "yay"), and done a lot of other useful admin. This means I should be able to hopefully get some useful stuff done tomorrow. We'll see about that, too. In the meantime I'm off home to trim the hedges, mow the lawn (again, already), and then do some washing up. Such an exciting evening in prospect. Also, I got my hair cut. Did I mention that?

[17:05] I had a truly fabulous weekend, thanks for asking! Rachel arrived on Friday, because she's awesome, and stayed until Monday morning. That meant that on Friday night we went for a meal out, and then to the cinema together with the last of my free cinema tickets (until the end of next month, when I get another six for the next year). Sadly, whilest the dinner was very tasty, it didn't do good things for me by the end of the film. Happily, I got home safely and by the time we were ready to go for our first long run of the weekend on the Saturday morning things were mostly back to normal. After the run we really didn't feel like doing all that much else, so hung out and then went to see Max and Stacey's new house and had some prosecco and barbeque food. The run left my achilles tendons feeling pretty ragged, so I wasn't sure about the Sunday run. As it was we got up a little late and, now that I think about it, the runs on both days didn't start much before midday. Anyway, the Sunday run was just about tolerable in terms of discomfort, even if my left ankle joint wasn't too happy about the experience, either. After that though we got cleaned up, had a snack and did the weekend shop. All that remained following that was for Rachel to commandeer the kitchen to make delicious things, and then for us to catch up on more Person of Interest rewatching before we tackle the final season, which will be pretty much over by the time we get to it. I also returned the waterproof jacket that arrived last week because of a fault (and the fact that it didn't really fit very well (too long in the arms)). And then it was Monday. Rachel left for London, I did morning exercises and headed to work, where I found that for some reason my achilles were almost normal-feeling again. That is to say, I couldn't feel them, like any normal person. I've stood up a few times today in between bits of work, and they've been fine. I'm hoping they'll be similar when I get up to go to do weights in a moment, but I can't see it lasting. Anyway, the working week is all set up with stuff to do as of tomorrow morning, so I'm off to capitalise on a relaxing evening beforehand.

[16:35] A rest day. This meant doing more exercise than normal when I got up, tidying the house a bit, dealing with the two sets of washing I did last night when I got home, and being a bit late for work. I'm still incredibly stiff, and my achilles are also sore. I'm not sure if I'll be able to run on the weekend with Rachel or not, which is a bit disappointing. I also found a manufacturing fault with my new waterproof, so I'm going to have to send it back. I'll still get Rachel's opinion on it in case I opt for a replacement rather than a refund. We'll have to see. I think it's a little too big, and I'm still not sure about the colour. Anyway, after some chatting with the people at the place I ordered it, I'll be returning it tomorrow, if I get the time.

The most achieveful things I did today was reinstall two more RHEL5 workstations as RHEL7. That should mean I don't have to worry about them for a good few years. Other than that I've been doing lots of small backgroundy tasks, and generally looking forward to the end of the working week, Rachel arriving, and us going for dinner and a film before the rest of the weekend together. Here's hoping it's as awesome as it usually is. And that I can run without problems (or at least problems no larger than normal).

[17:15] Rather than make things worse, I gave in and didn't run this morning. Instead I got up at the same time (horribly early), tested my achilles tendons (far too tight) and went to the boat house to do a weights session instead. The first in a good few months, actually. I think it helped, maybe. I'll be doing more as the weeks go by now. Until either I build too much muscle mass (unlikely) or I decide to drop down to a more useful race weight. Anyway, that was the first half of the morning. Then I came into work, got my new waterproof from Sport Pursuit (need Rachel to weigh in on the colour and fit before I decide if I'm going to keep it or not), and had fun updating my workstation to the most recent release of RHEL6. After lunch I managed to get two of the four remaining RHEL5 workstations reinstalled or replaced with brand new RHEL7 installations instead. Just two more to go now, then that'll be all the workstations, but nowhere near all of the RHEL5 installations done with. At some point I should upgrade my workstation from RHEL6 32-bit to RHEL7 64-bit, but that's going to be a bit more of a thing.

Anyway, that's it for today I think. Home time for clothes washing, washing up, and perhaps reading in the back garden for a bit before television time.

[16:50] Disappointingly, when I went to the cinema yesterday after work it turned out that the place shows things at different times on different week days. Which is just silly. What it meant is that I went home without seeing a film (there was no way I was waiting 45 minutes to watch a 3D version and pay extra). I'm going to go again this evening and hope that it's not too full.

After a nice evening, during which time I texted Rachel with some important information, I caught up on a fair bit of downloaded television and then went to bed. When I got up this morning I initially planned to run 20km. This was quickly downgraded to a 1.5 hour run instead (about 18km), then 15km, and eventually 13km. This wasn't really because I was tired, but because bits of me just ache too much. My left ankle, my achilles tendons (which were tight to start and never really loosened up) and the top of my right leg where the quads attach. About the only thing which didn't make an appearance was the pain in my right adductor. Not my best run by a long long way.

Workwise, today has been more fine-tuning the servers I build (X11 setup and selinux fettling), meetings with developers about other servers, and SLES updates. I'm going to head off now because I've had enough of work today. I'm not sure if I'll run tomorrow morning given how this morning went.

[17:00] Wondefully, Rachel came to see me last night. This meant I had to get home, put a load of washing on, get to Tesco, come home, put everything away, and make the house presentable before she arrived. I managed it with about ten seconds to spare. Then we had a lovely evening which consisted of a rather enjoyable run, food, and some television watching. The weather cooperated to keep us from getting rained on too much, but just enough to keep us a little cooler given the humidity.

We were both pretty groggy when we woke this morning, but Rachel got on her way in reasonable time, and I did my morning exercises. Here at work I've spent the day doing incremental changes and updates to the servers I built yesterday such that I think I'm now at the point when I can hand them over to the developers/DBAs. I'm sure I'll have more to do soon, though. Over lunch I vacillated over going running in the drizzed, but eventually went and clumped around a pretty unimpressive 8K or so. I felt better for having done it though, even if my shoes are now damp for tomorrow morning's run.

[17:10] The weekend was pretty great, especially in conjunction with the weather, which was fantastic. I headed to Rachel's on Friday evening and had her flat to myself until she and her parents came back from being out for the evening in London. I was in bed by the time they got home, so barely remember anything. We got up in the morning and took the train down to Brighton, where we dumped our bags at a hotel and got a taxi out east so that we could walk along the coast between Exceat and Eastbourne via Beachy Head. Plenty of ups and downs to be had there. Then it was relaxing back at the hotel and dinner before bed. Sunday morning we had time for a moderately leisurely breakfast before another taxi out to Upper Beeding for another ten mile walk to Hassocks via the Devil's Dyke and a number of hills. Once that was done Rachel and I dashed back to Brighton to collect our bags (a run from the train station to the coast and back), and then crammed ourselves onto the train back to Hassocks where her parents jumped on elsewhere on the train and we all met up back at Croydon station. We had some problems finding somewhere to eat dinner that was open on a Sunday night, but eventually (after walking about two miles) ended up at the place I'd first suggested, which was nice. Bed wasn't long in following once we got home.

This morning was the usual two trains back from Croydon, getting up at 06:10 (so later than if I were going for a run here before work). The trains were fine, I had a book to read, and Rachel made me lunch. So all was pretty fab. I've had a useful day creating servers and getting them ready to do the complicated configuration stuff on (probably tomorrow). Now I'm about to head off home to collect my panniers and do the week's Tesco shop, which I obviously couldn't do over the weekend.

[16:30] Lots of DNS fiddling today. Hopefully I got it all right and my ex-team leader isn't going to be sarcastic and (annoyingly) right about what I got wrong on Monday. We'll have to see.

Otherwise, I packed last night for going to Brighton with Rachel and her parents this weekend for hiking. Only now I think my feet are going to be too hot in the hiking boots I'm bringing, and I don't have any socks that'll work with my day to day shoes. Plus the boots take up loads of room in my bag. I've humped them this far, so I feel like I should take them all the way. Or not. Rachel's getting me some socks this evening from Cotswold Outdoors, but... I don't know. I'll wear them to Croydon and see if I'm going to die in them or not. Anyway, off for the weekend. See you on Monday.

[17:35] OK, so here are the photos from my trip to the US and Iceland. Hope they're not too boring: Enjoy.

In other news I sent a lot of emails today, did a rather leaden 20K run this morning before work in perfect weather conditions, went for a physio session over lunch and got a useful calf/achilles massage, and generally caught up on a lot of stuff. Now I'm going home to wash up the last week's worth of dishes, and catch up on some television as well.

[16:50] Thankfully quiet at work today. I've just had a quick visit from my new line manager to tell me that the office moves are pretty much set in stone, but I can start registering my preferences as to where I want to sit. Not that I think I'll have any more effect on things than I did trying to stop the moves (silly idea, moving me away from the people I most commonly work for), but there we go.

Gave Cormac his jerky from NH this afternoon on the way to replace a hard drive. Spent a good hour or so working on getting permissions right on a server for directories and files. Caught up on a few more news articles and have overloaded my browser with tabs to catch up with some more tomorrow.

Had Max and Stacey at home last night as they arrived back from doing the Hoka Highland Fling ultra marathon. They stayed the night, then left this morning to pick up the keys to their new rental place, which is pretty much right around the corner from mine. I'm going for a run as soon as I get home, and then helping them do the last of their moving in in exchange for stir-fry. Tomorrow morning I may get up early for another run, like when I was training for Boston. I think I liked that kind of training plan.

[17:05] Hello! Well, I'm back again. Not that you noticed. However, it has been an extremely eventful few weeks for me, and no mistake. I'll give you a quick rundown on the things that happened (and I discovered). Starting off with the journey to Boston, everything went pretty much according to plan with me meeting Rachel at Heathrow, then is getting the plane to Iceland and then a connecting flight to America. All went well there. We also got to the hotel OK too, which was good. It turned out that the hotel I'd chosen was even better placed than we thought. We went for short runs, a bit of shopping at the expo, and even a smidgen of touristing mixed in with meals out here and there. Then it was Monday and the marathon. The day looked like it was going to be swelteringly hot, and therefore problematic in terms of running hard and not melting/dehydrating, but in the end, with plenty of water to throw over myself I managed to get a 57 second personal best for the distance... which then turned out to be even better than I thought when it was discovered that the last three years of Manchester Marathons (not including 2016's) were 380m short. This was extremely annoying, not least because I don't consider I've run a marathon in Manchester now, and also that that was the time I used to qualify for Boston this year. In any event, there's nothing I can really do about it now. I ran faster, further this year. That's all that matters. Rachel also got a new PB, but by even more, although she didn't quite manage to beat me, having run the numbers I think she beat me last year when she did London and I did Manchester. Anyway, after the race we were both pretty done in. We walked the mile or so back to the hotel, but managed to get ourselves out and about later on for food and stuff. Stairs were problematic. As was my digestive system for the next day or so. Stress on the system, probably. After Boston we took the Dartmouth Coach up to Hanover, NH. where a friend (sort-of college mum) of Kris', who has become a good friend of mine) put us up for two nights, took us out to see a maple syrup and cheese farm, a glass-blowing place, and informed me that Kris got married two years or so ago. All of which was interesting. After that it was back on another coach and down to New York, NY. We had found ourselves a really smashing AirBnB place in Harlem which initially scared me a little, but by the time we left four days later was feeling a lot more comfortable. Whilest in New York we visited the USS Intrepid, walked a lot of Manhattan, went to the 9/11 Memorial and museum, explored Greenwich Village, ate well, explored Central Park (including running in it, something I'd always wanted to do), and did brunch properly. Plenty of other things too, which I haven't mentioned. Then it was back on a plane and to Iceland where every day was a trip out to see something. We'd packed so much in we even visited the Blue Lagoon on the way from the airport to our AirBnB place in Reykjavik. Other things we did were the Golden Circle (including a very interesting stop at a hydroelectric plant), a walk and some ice-climbing on a glacier, and plenty of waterfall viewing. Then, finally, we were back on a plane home, and then on various trains to either home (me) or an afternoon of work (Rachel!).

After two nights apart, Rachel relented and came to see me for Sunday and Monday (bank holiday here). I've managed to squeeze in a few runs with my new birthday gift (GPS watch from Rachel), get my achilles moving again after some extremely tight and painful days when I wasn't doing my morning and evening stretches or running, and start to get a handle on my personal email. I've also done a first pass on my photos, including getting the panoramas together. As soon as they're done I'll upload and give you a link.

Now it's Tuesday, I'm back at work, I've already consigned 10,512 emails to the Deleted Items folder, and I'm just starting to catch up on the things which have gone on whilest I've been away. Luckily they haven't moved anyone around desk-wise yet, so I'll be here for that, but there also hasn't been any movement in a good direction (i.e. me/us staying put) either. I've opened a few hardware calls for hardware which no-one's dealt with when its gone wrong, done a boatload of firewall and load balancer changes, and I've lost count of how many DNS changes/updates. I'm just going to try and make it through to the end of the day, get home, do some washing up, and the host Max and Stacey for the night before they move into their new rental accommodation tomorrow. Which I've now managed to do.